Watershed Governance
Measures the percent of Canada’s 25 major watersheds which have a mechanism to support watershed governance.

Getting data to report on this impact measure is a work in progress. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any data or ideas to share with us on this measure, please send us an email at info@ourlivingwaters.ca.

Overview

Governance deals with the way decisions are made and upheld. Watershed governance - the ways decisions are made and upheld within a watershed - informs how well our water is managed. Most of Canada’s 25 major watersheds do not fit into one province or region. Watersheds are commonly dissected by these regional, provincial and international political boundaries. The unintended result: no entity is in charge of the watershed as a whole. Instead, small pockets of the watershed are managed independently - typically defined by the jurisdictional confines of various federal, provincial and local government agencies - with inadequate consideration for the other parts. Too often we see decisions in one area literally flow downstream to impact another. What’s lost is governance that supports the ecological integrity of the entire watershed.

Aligning many jurisdictions in co-governance is complex work. In order to overcome this fragmentation, a formal mechanism is needed to drive levels of government towards governing at a watershed scale. These mechanisms may take one of many forms, such as an interprovincial policy/agreement; a whole watershed vision or framework; or a watershed institution or water board.

A case study in good watershed level governance is the Mackenzie River Basin Transboundary Waters Master Agreement. The model represents a cooperative, intergovernmental agreement endorsed by the governments of the Northwest Territories, Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Canada. This agreement encourages neighbouring provinces/territories to enter into bilateral agreements to support implementation of the Master Agreement. For a detailed look at one of these bilateral agreements, check out the guidebook released by the OLW Network member, FLOW (Forum for Leadership on Water): Transcending Boundaries: A Guidebook to the Alberta-Northwest Territories Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement.

5-Year target: To establish a process for, and identify, an initial benchmark for this impact measure.

Last updated November 2017

Note: The data presented here represents our best research given the time and resources at hand. We acknowledge there may be errors. This shared measurement system belongs to all members of the Our Living Water Network, so if you have any corrections for us, or ideas to share on this measure, please send us an email at info@ourlivingwaters.ca.

Watershed Governance|Measures the percent of Canada’s 25 major watersheds which have a mechanism to support watershed governance.
Watershed Governance|Measures the percent of Canada’s 25 major watersheds which have a mechanism to support watershed governance.
Imagine a Canada where all waters are in good health: